After Wednesday’s fight card in Jacksonville, Florida, the second of what would be three in one week for the Ultimate Fighting Championship, president Dana White got thrown a bit of a curve ball in the post-fight press conference. A reporter asked him if he’d heard about Tesla founder Elon Musk defying California’s shelter in place state orders and reopening his plant in Alameda County. White, who said he’d spoken about it briefly with colleagues earlier in the night, answered in typical White fashion. “I thought that was bada**, I love it,” he said. “Didn’t he open it and say, ‘Come arrest me’? I love it.” Musk’s battle with the California government exemplifies a new narrative emerging in the US, and across the world. Businesses, desperate to get back to work, and get their employees working again as the global pandemic morphs into a global recession, are starting to test coronavirus restrictions in various forms. White’s three-fight showcase exemplifies our new normal, that if you do things right, Covid-19 can be handled. A “bada**” can mean either a tough and aggressive person, or someone very impressive. While many are calling Musk’s move reckless, White’s achievement over the past week was definitely impressive. White took heat for weeks as he tried to get the UFC off the ground during the global pandemic, even trying in vain to host UFC 249 on tribal lands at a Native American casino (ESPN and parent company Disney stepped in after concerns from the state were brought forth), but White’s aggressive nature persevered. ‘Kung Fu Monkey’ gives UFC hope of another Chinese champ He found a state (Florida), a governor (republican Ron DeSantis) and a city (Jacksonville), run by a mayor (Lenny Curry), who is a pro business right-winger and was willing to roll out the red carpet for the UFC. Media outlets lined up to take their shots at White, calling him reckless, stupid, naive and even a buffoon for trying to skirt coronavirus regulations and bring sport back to the masses – without the spectators, of course. The New York Times ran a piece titled “U.F.C.’s Coronavirus Plan is Careful. Its Enforcement Has Been Spotty”. White, in typical White fashion, had some words for journalist Kevin Draper’s piece, which ran after the first fight as the media pile-on reached a fever pitch. “F*** that guy, f*** that guy. You know what happened with that guy? That guy, whose never covered the sport before, was writing a story about Endeavor (a talent agency that is part of the UFC’s ownership group) … and what do you think happened when this guy and this paper covered UFC when they’ve never covered it before, what do you think happened? His f****** story was huge, they did killer traffic. Now they’re writing stories, three a week, and they’re posting live results.” White continued to take some more shots at Draper before offering a backhanded compliment – “good for him, he’s pulling traffic.” White has every right to be defiant now, he did the impossible, the UFC was the first major sporting body to pull off a large-scale event (three nonetheless), followed closely by Germany’s Bundesliga. The trio of cards went off as perfectly executed showcases, as UFC fights normally are. UFC: Overeem says he ‘honoured’ Harris by ‘bringing my best’ One of the fighters even tested positive, Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza, along with two of his corner men. What did the UFC do? They didn’t freak out, they didn’t cancel, they just put Souza and his corner men in a car, sent them to the hospital and carried on with the scheduled event as per protocol. Souza is fine, and so are both of his corner men, and the Florida State Boxing Commission praised the UFC’s handling of the issue, stating they had “no reservations” about hosting the event. The UFC’s Covid-19 playbook, the “UFC Jacksonville Events Operations Plan” outlines the high degree of public health measures and safety procedures that need to be in place, which includes five pillars in helping contain the spread of Covid-19. Social distancing, advanced screening procedures, protective guidelines/self-reporting procedures, cleaning procedures and medical procedures are all laid out, as well as rules to where each person involved in the event can go. This is so detailed, the UFC broke it down to each employee. Example, the “fibre technician” is only allowed in zone 25, while “camera operator eight” is allowed in zones 21 and 22. White could be out serving humble pie to the media everywhere, but he’s back at headquarters doing what he wants to be doing, planning the sport’s next events, looking to Las Vegas and the UFC’s Mecca to add some more feathers to his cap. White proved everyone wrong, and more importantly, showed the world navigating our post-Covid-19 global pandemic landscape is not rocket science. He delivered a bada*** response when asked how the UFC pulled off such an impressive seven days with no outbreak, major controversy or damaging slip-up. “You have to be willing to work hard enough, spend some money, and come up with solutions, and that’s what we did this week.” Help us understand what you are interested in so that we can improve SCMP and provide a better experience for you. We would like to invite you to take this five-minute survey on how you engage with SCMP and the news.